Victor Maphosa Herald Correspondent
Mobile phone service provider , Telecel Zimbabwe, will inject US$540 million into its operations over the next five years to improve service to its subscribers, chief executive Mrs Angeline Vere has said.

Mrs Vere revealed the plan during a familiarisation tour by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information Communication Technology and Courier Services yesterday.

The committee wanted to understand the operations of the mobile network operator, its operational challenges and how Government could assist it in overcoming them.

“Telecel is looking at a five-year investment plan, in total we are looking at US$540 million spread over five years with the biggest investment in the first two years. The investment will bring the network into the modern era. We will have 4G which will assist a lot of businesses in Zimbabwe.

“We are looking at giving a smart service to the generality of Zimbabweans through that investment, so our customers out there should expect a very modern network,” she said.

On their current operations, Mrs Vere said they were being seriously affected by the shortages of foreign currency to import equipment and to procure fuel.

“We are facing challenges especially on the fuel issue. The whole industry consumes about 1,7 million litres of fuel a month, the fuel is for our generators at our base stations,” she said.

“Telecel alone is using more than 100 litres a day so we are asking the Government to consider offering us fuel rebates.”

In an interview with The Herald on the sidelines of the tour the committee’s chairperson Chalton Hwende said they would lobby the Government to address the issues in the telecommunications industry regarding to foreign currency allocations.

He said soon they will invite the Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr John Mangudya to the parliament to address the issues foreign currency.

“Most of the equipment used by our operators is imported, so if they don’t have foreign currency, they cannot effectively provide service.

So we will invite the responsible authorities on April 8 and 9 to answer to these issues raised today.”

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